Floor lamp/grow light nears production at Product Manufactory

Floor lamp/grow light nears production at Product Manufactory

URBANA — The Product Manufactory is getting ready to roll out its first product — a fashionable floor lamp that can provide indirect overhead lighting as well as a grow light for plants.

The Pria lamp uses three poles standing in a crisscross design, with magnetic LED lights fastened to connectors, high and low, that bridge the poles at two points.

The LED light on the top connector shines upward, providing indirect lighting by illuminating the ceiling, while the light on the bottom connector shines down, providing direct light for plants below.

The Urbana-based firm is introducing the product on Kickstarter, a crowd-funding website, in hopes of raising $72,500 for refinements to components. As of Wednesday, the campaign had raised more than $13,700, with six days remaining.

Even if the campaign doesn't reach its goal, The Product Manufactory plans to continue work to bring the lamp to market, said Mercedes Mane, the firm's cofounder. She said trans.LUXE, a studio in New York City that sells unique lamps and lighting designs, has already indicated it wants to carry the lamp.

Mane said the Pria, which weighs less than five pounds, is ideal for people with small apartments in big cities who may not get much exterior light and want only a few elegant pieces of furniture.

She sees the target demographic as people 28 to 45 years old who have some established income and who appreciate plants and want to grow them indoors.

The lamp poles will be available in both aluminum and wood, with prices for the lamp eventually expected to range from $350 to $550, depending on the materials used. Mane said she expects the Pria to come in walnut, cherry, mahogany, oak, birch and maple.

Customers can select a variety of LED lights to use in conjunction with the Pria, including grow lights for plants and mood lights in a variety of colors and temperatures. Since the lights are fastened to the connectors with magnets, changing the lighting is simple.

Magnets are also embedded in each of the poles, making it easy to fasten them together with the connectors. One of the poles also has a wire inside, transmitting power from the connector to the LED lights. Each of the LEDs provides 30,000 hours of light, according to the Kickstarter site.

Mane said the company began working on the project late last year, initially with the intent of designing a grow light. The company had previously worked on a lamp project with Molex and was eager to find other ways to use that company's LED lighting.

The name Pria was adopted to reflect a couple attributes, she said. The Product Manufactory considered a variation of the word "trio" as a result of the lamp's three legs, as well as a variation on "primus" since the lamp was The Product Manufactory's first in-house brand project.

The Product Manufactory, based at 722 Killarney St. in Urbana's Lincoln Commerce Center, offers expertise in engineering, prototyping and product design. The company, founded by Mane and her husband, Bryan Wilcox, now has six full-time employees.

Among its other current projects are: a redesign of electrical outlets to make them easier to replace; coming up with an easier way to pull fuses from a fuse array; designing electronics for a bicycle accessory called BikeSpike; and designing electronics for a device that sends an alert if the temperature in hotel and restaurant refrigerators goes outside the desired range.

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